V For Vendetta appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. This became a terrific representation of a difficult source.
Sharpness appeared strong, with nary a soft spot on display. Despite the fact much of the film took place in dim domains, the movie remained well-defined and precise.
I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes failed to appear. I also noticed no print flaws, and with natural grain, I didn’t suspect any problematic use of noise reduction.
With its subdued palette, Vendetta didn’t demand much of its colors. The film stayed with a fairly monotone scheme that favored browns, teals and other earth tones. These were delineated in an appropriate manner, and the 4K’s HDR added a bit more intensity and warmth to these tones.
Blacks seemed deep and dense, and shadows came across well. Low-light shots displayed appropriate clarity, and the HDR brought extra punch to contrast and whites. This was a fine presentation, especially given the challenges of the material.
Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, I thought the Dolby Atmos soundtrack of V For Vendetta proved highly satisfying as well. The soundfield opened up the spectrum in an impressive manner.
The many action sequences presented lively elements that surfaced from all the channels. The information blended well and created a vivid setting for the material. Explosive scenes worked best, as they used the surrounds and sides to immerse us in the blasts.
Audio quality always remained solid. Dialogue seemed distinct and concise, and I noticed no signs of edginess or other flaws. Music was crisp and vibrant, as the score showed good range and clarity at all times.
Effects were similarly full and clean. They lacked distortion and presented more than adequate low-end material. This was exactly the kind of strong mix that should come with a movie of this sort.
How does the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray release? The Atmos mix added a bit of range and impact to the audio, and visuals looked considerably tighter and more dynamic. Especially in terms of picture, the 4K became a significant step up over the dated Blu-ray.
The 4K UHD comes with three new features, and we start with In Conversation, a 13-minute, 18-second chat between director James McTeigue and co-writer Lana Wachowski. They discuss a few aspects of the production in this decent but somewhat insubstantial overview.
Natalie Portman’s Audition runs 14 minutes, six seconds and shows… Natalie Portman’s audition. It also contrasts Portman’s tryout scenes with the final film, and it becomes a fun view of this material.
The 4K disc finishes with Unmasked, a 23-minute, 28-second piece that includes notes from McTeigue, producer Joel Silver, co-creator David Lloyd, production designer Owen Paterson, supervising art director Kevin Phipps, set decorator Peter Walpole, and actors Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Steven Fry, John Hurt and Sinead Cusack.
“Unmasked” examines the source material, its adaptation and path to the screen, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations.
“Unmasked” delivers a passable look at the flick, but it exists to promote the film, so don’t expect much depth from it.
On the included Blu-ray copy, we find more extras, and we open with Freedom! Forever! Making V For Vendetta. This 15-minute, 57-second featurette presents the usual mix of movie clips, behind the scenes materials, and interviews.
We hear from McTeigue, Lloyd, Silver, Portman, Weaving, Rea, Fry, Cusack, Hurt, Paterson, and actors Roger Allam and Rupert Graves.
We learn about the development of the project and the adaptation of the graphic novel, the flick’s theme, tone, and story, characters and performances, and the film’s political commentary. The title “Making V For Vendetta” doesn’t fit the content, as we learn precious little about the film’s actual creation.
Instead, the program sticks with more thoughtful, philosophical material. That factor means “Freedom” manages to become more involving than the usual promotional featurette. It seems too brief to truly investigate the movie’s ideas, but it’s an interesting teaser.
Designing the Near Future lasts 17 minutes, 16 seconds as it includes remarks from McTeigue, Paterson, Portman, Silver, Weaving, Phipps, Walpole, costume designer Sammy Sheldon, visual effects supervisor Dan Glass, model unit supervisor Jose Granell, model unit crew Nigel Trevessey, and supervising location manager Nicholas Daubeney.
“Future” looks mostly at sets, locations, and production design. We find out why they shot in Berlin and notes related to that choice. We also learn about specifics of the various sets and other visual elements like costumes, props and effects.
“Future” covers these issues well and offers solid discussions of why the filmmakers chose the various pieces. It gives us a tight and consistently engaging look at the material, so it definitely deserves a look.
A view of history comes to us via Remember, Remember: Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. This 10-minute, 18-second show features Fry, Allam, Portman, Cusack, Investigating the Gunpowder Plot author Mark Nicholls, The Polarisation of Elizabethan Politics author Paul Hammer, A History of the Modern British Isles, 1603-1707 author David Smith, and Gunpowder Plot Society president David Herber.
The participants cover the facts behind the Plot and give us a taut little synopsis of that subject. You might even want to watch this show before you check out Vendetta as its presentation of history may help flesh out the story.
For the final featurette, we find the 14-minute, 40-second England Prevails: V for Vendetta and the New Wave In Comics. We hear from Silver, Lloyd, Fry, McTeigue, Vertigo executive editor Karen Berger, comic book authors/artists Bill Sienkiewicz, Paul Chadwick and Geoff Darrow, and DC Comics president and publisher Paul Levitz.
As implied by the title, it looks at trends in modern graphic novels. It looks at the original Vendetta comic and traces the development of the genre over the decades. We see how the comics opened up more in the Seventies and Eighties as they led into darker, more unusual titles.
We also get a look at British comics of the era and the rise of smaller publishers. All of this takes us to the creation, development and execution of Vendetta.
“Wave” is too short to offer a rich history of graphic novels, but it throws out more than enough useful details to succeed. It’s a good little glimpse of the project’s history and issues.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we get a Cat Power Montage. “I Found a Reason” lasts for two minutes as it combines that tune with clips from the movie. This means it gives us nothing more than a really cheap music video.
A fun bonus, we find Natalie Portman SNL Rap. It runs two minutes, 34 seconds and presents Portman as crazy and violent. It’s amusing.
New to the Blu-ray, we find In-Movie Experience. A picture-in-picture component, this mixes footage from the set, production art, and interviews.
We hear from McTeigue, Portman, Weaving, Rea, Allam, Silver, Paterson, domino expert Robin Weijers, Glass, and actors John Standing and Tim Pigott-Smith.
They discuss the Gunpowder Plot, cast and performances, the adaptation of the graphic novel, story, characters, and themes, visual design and cinematography, effects and a few other elements.
Most of the “Experience” focuses on story/character areas, and that makes it fairly introspective. We don’t learn a ton about the mechanics of making the film, but we get good insights that turn this into an effective commentary.
Ambitious and unusual, I admire V For Vendetta more for what it attempts than what it does. It shoots for the moon but succeeds too sporadically to become a consistently successful effort. The 4K UHD boasts excellent picture and audio along with a fairly solid set of bonus materials. Though I can’t claim to love the movie, I feel happy with this solid 4K rendition of it.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of V FOR VENDETTA